Overview: Amendment of Fundamental Rights Cases

Overview: Amendment of Fundamental Rights Cases

Question: Fundamental Rights/FR are the bulwark of the Indian constitution. Provide an overview of the amendment of FR cases.

Shankari Prasad Vs. Union of India AIR 1951:

• This case came up before the SC and indicated FR could be amended
• It challenged the validity of the First AA to the Constitution of India
• It purported to abridge FR under Part III of the Constitution
• SC held power to amend FR is held by A368

Golaknath Vs. State of Punjab AIR 1967

• SC overruled the earlier decision and held that Parliament does not have power to amend Part III of the Indian Constitution
• Doctrine of prospective overruling was invoked
• This doctrine was used to preserve the constitutional validity of the 17th AA

24th Amendment act 1971

• This restored constitutional power to the Parliament to amend part of the Indian Constitution including FR

Keshavanada Bharti Vs. State of Kerala AIR 1973

• It held that the Parliament under Indian Constitution is not supreme and it cannot change the basic structure of the Indian Constitution

42nd Amendment act 1976

• It held that it is ultra Vires of Parliament to make laws seeking any amendment of the constitution which would infringe, restrict or diminish rights of individuals.

Amendment had four major purposes:

i. Exclude the courts entirely from election disputes;
ii. To strengthen the central government
iii. To give maximal protection from judicial challenge
iv. ‘To trim’ the judiciary,

• This constitutional amendment is the most debatable piece of AA ever undertaken in India since 1950

Minerva Mills Vs. Union of India, AIR 1980

• In this case, SC provided key clarifications on interpretation of doctrine of basic structure and ruled the Parliament has the power to amend the constitution in a way that is limited by the constitution

Facts and Stats

• A368 is concerned with the amendment of the Constitution

• At different times, court has ruled Parliament does or does not have the power to amend FR

• Fundamental Rights are justifiable and enforceable
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